Italy escape Rugby World Cup shock by scraping past Canada

Italy escape Rugby World Cup shock by scraping past Canada

Italy 23 Canada 18

Italy squeaked past a determined and inventive Canada 23-18 to keep alive their World Cup quarter-final hopes.

Tries from Michele Rizzo and Gonzalo Garcia plus 13 points from the boot of Tommaso Allan proved just enough for Jacques Brunel’s men to avert an upset, but they face a far tougher assignment next against Ireland on October 4.

Italy were made to work extremely hard for their unconvincing victory and the key moment was arguably the decision to disallow a Phil Mackenzie try for the Canucks in the 45th minute for a forward pass in the build-up, just after an excellent Matt Evans try had put them 15-13 in front.

Canada were the livelier starters and drew swift rewards when Nathan Hirayama’s 14th-minute penalty was immediately followed by a break from right to left led from deep by DTH van der Merwe. The Scarlets wing exchanged passes with Ciaran Hearn before touching down. Hirayama added the extras to make it 10-0.

The large Maple Leaf contingent’s enthusiasm was soon dampened as Italy immediately drew level. Prop Rizzo stretched over for a try after clever work from scrum-half Edoardo Gori and Perpignan fly-half Allan converted. Allan brought the scores level in the 25th minute with a penalty conceded by Canada prop Doug Wooldridge.

Allan was replaced by Carlo Canna in the 34th minute and the new man missed a penalty before being tackled into touch as he tried to ground the ball in the left corner as the first half came to a close. However, Italy went into the break ahead after Canada conceded a penalty and Allan, back on the pitch, made no mistake from close in.

Canada emerged fired up for the restart and Evans scored a scintillating try after breaking clear from Phil Mackenzie’s offload.

Hirayama was unable to add the extras but it did not appear to matter too much in the 45th minute as Conor Trainor’s quick hands appeared to have sent Phil Mackenzie clear to touch down, only for referee George Clancy to refer it to the TMO who deemed Trainor’s pass forward.

Boos echoed around Elland Road and Canada initially remained driven on by the injustice, dominating territory for a spell with man of the match Van der Merwe especially dangerous.

Italy escape Rugby World Cup shock by scraping past Canada

The sense that Mackenzie’s disallowed effort was the turning point grew as Italy regained the lead through Garcia’s close-range burst over after an initial effort from hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini was held up close to the line.

Hirayama cut the lead to two points to leave the Italians chewing their nails before Allan nailed a penalty at the end, but the Azzurri held on in a match they might have looked on before the start as a chance to secure the five-point maximum.

More on this topic

Jacob Stockdale hoping for more good memories of Twickenham in bid for World Cup placeJacob Stockdale hoping for more good memories of Twickenham in bid for World Cup place

WADA compliments Rugby World Cup for zero failed drug tests

Stuart Lancaster steps down as England head coach 'by mutual consent'Stuart Lancaster steps down as England head coach 'by mutual consent'

VIDEO: Why the Rugby World Cup 2015 was the greatest rugby tournament everVIDEO: Why the Rugby World Cup 2015 was the greatest rugby tournament ever

More in this Section

Is there a dawn to follow the darkest moment?Is there a dawn to follow the darkest moment?

A victory for bravery, a defeat reeking of stagnationA victory for bravery, a defeat reeking of stagnation

Emery believes Arsenal can achieve something important this seasonEmery believes Arsenal can achieve something important this season

Real Sociedad return to winning ways to go fourth in LaLigaReal Sociedad return to winning ways to go fourth in LaLiga


Lifestyle

Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

Even if you only have room for one pot in the smallest space, plant some tulips in it to make your garden spring to life, says Hannah Stephenson.7 design tips to make your tulips in garden pots stand out in a crowd

More From The Irish Examiner